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Why does visibility matter on the roads?

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Many crashes occur because one person does not see another or they do not see them in time to avoid them. Despite this reality, most people assume that others can and will see them as they travel.

There are several factors that increase the risk that a motorist or large commercial vehicle operator will fail to spot others. These are just a few.

Not expecting to see others

A driver on a rural road who hardly ever sees another vehicle when driving back from town at one in the morning may be surprised when someone does appear. Or a driver might not expect to see someone on a motorcycle in late February and look straight past anyone who is traveling on two wheels. This phenomenon is called inattentional blindness and is down to how the brain works. To avoid overload, the brain only perceives what it expects to see.


You could be waving an orange flag and blowing a whistle, and some drivers still won’t notice you. Some people are so engrossed in their phones or in programming the satnav that they fail to notice anything around them.

Being hard to see

If you drove a dark car on a dark night with no lights on your vehicle, you would not expect others to see you. Yet many people fail to realize visibility is a sliding scale, and the further you drift toward not being visible, the more likely that others will miss you.

The more you can do to become visible, the better. Think lighter colored cars, turning on your headlights early, lighting up your bicycle and wearing your white jacket instead of your black one to walk to the bar at night.

While it is other people’s duty to watch out for you, making yourself hard to miss may save you from injury and could help you show that they were at fault if a crash occurs.

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